Wednesday, September 20, 2017

My Trip to Germany

I am back to my original series of tales from the summer. This is going to be a long post, so if you need to skim go for it. The next tale took place right after graduation at ONU. The Ohio Northern Wind Orchestra travelled to Germany for a two week tour. We started off our journey in Ada, Ohio. We all boarded a charter bus really early in the morning and drove six hours to Chicago O’Hare Airport. As much as people hate long bus rides, I don’t mind them at all. I travelled a lot during my summers on charter buses. As soon as they start moving I zonk out.

Our flight was twelve hours from Chicago to Dublin, Ireland where we got off for a three hour layover from Dublin to Frankfurt, Germany. I didn’t have any problems on my long flight, because the airline provided little television screens in front of each seat to watch movies, television or play games. I was seated in an aisle seat so I had plenty of room.  One the shorter layover I was stuck between two huge, German men who didn’t speak English so I just listened to music. I was tired, but excited to see Germany so the jet lag didn’t bother me. We all had to just force ourselves to adjust to the time.

Quick note: One of our students left their passport on the plane once we were in Germany. The plane already left to go back to Ireland. He got to spend the first part of our trip in customs with the German police and a faculty member. Poor Brendan.

The first place we visited was Luxembourg. Luxembourg was full of quiet shops and good food. I got to have Guinness at an Irish bar and some other drinks with my friends that night before we got ready for the next day.

We went to Trier where I had the best meal of the whole trip. Although we went to Germany my favorite meal was pizza from an Italian family. The family let us keep the glasses and thought we were very interesting.

Laupheim was the highlight of the trip. It’s a small town in Germany where everyone is a close-knit community. After the war, some parts were left devastated and you can obviously see  the newer part of the town. In all the other locations, we stayed in youth hostels (basically dorm hotels), but in Laupheim we all were placed in homes of members of the orchestra there. My host family was Frank, Petra and their two daughters Yana and Romina. Their little girls held up a sign that read “Welcome in Germany” when we arrived at the orchestra. Their home is gorgeous and quaint. They were wonderful hosts. Every morning we had so much food to take us with on our travels and they tried their best to speak with us.

In Laupheim we visited a brewery, performed a fantastic concert and went to a German barbeque where there was lots of food and beer. They treated us like royalty. One of our professors Dr. Hunt, studied in Germany for twenty years, so we have all these connections in small towns to experience the real life of Germany. We are lucky to have him.

The next day we went to Austria. We hiked up the Pherd trail to get a view of the Swiss Alps in the distance. There were cows with bells on them. The hills were alive with music, too. We were “those” Americans who sang as we hiked up the mountain.

We started off the next day by visiting Stuttgart where we performed another fantastic concert and visited the Mercedes Benz Museum. For some reason I remember this day not by the things we did, but the conversations I had with my professors and friends. I remember it fondly.

Of course if you visit Germany, you should visit a concentration camp if you are able. It’s very hard to put into words how difficult and overwhelming visiting the camp was. We visited Buchenwald. Fifty-eight thousand people died there. The camp was know for genetic testing, euthanizations and their crematorium. There is this gorgeous landscape in the distance, but when you imagine how much pain and suffering went on where you were standing it was too much to handle. Taking photos seemed inappropriate here, but I took a few to remember the landscape and how I felt.

The last place we went to was Berlin! My friend group wanted to get a head start on how to use public transportation so we went out really late the first night. We had to take a bus and two trains to get to a cantina where we had Spanish cuisine. For my friends that really just meant really good margaritas. The next day we went on a tour but were cut off by security around the Brandenburg gate. President Obama happened to be in Berlin and we saw his car and security detail pull up at the gate! It’s a small world! We walked to the East Side Gallery and saw the Berlin Wall. We had currywurst and Mezzo Mix. It’s like an orange cola and coke mix--so good. We went to the Olympic Stadium, the Charlottenburg Palace and the Rittersport chocolate store before ending our evening at the Berlin Philharmonic. I got to sit right behind the French horns!

Before the trip, I was worried about my close friends not being on the tour and being first chair in my section, but I had nothing to worry about. I get along with lots of people and actually had some pretty great friends. I had countless memories as you can tell, but I really will remember the conversation and the people that were with me in these amazing places. If you EVER have a chance to travel abroad whether it’s for a week or a semester, GO! You will not regret it! Thanks for reading about my trip.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Jodi & Missy

I will be taking a quick detour from my summer adventures to talk about this past weekend. My boyfriend CJ’s moms finally tied the knot! Jodi and Missy have been together for almost 16 years. They finally got married Saturday, September 9, 2017. Part of why they were waiting was to keep CJ’s financial aid more affordable, but they got all the plans together and made it happen. Jodi is CJ’s biological mother, but Missy has been a part of his life as long as he can remember.

I thought it was really sweet that even after all of those years, Jodi made Missy ask her father. Of course he was glad to give her to Missy. CJ and Jodi’s father got to walk her down the aisle. Jodi looked beautiful in her white, wedding dress. Missy looked great in her dress pants and blouse with her vest. Their colors were a fall palette of colors, so everyone had different colors to kick off a beautiful fall wedding.

They originally invited 120 people to this wedding, but around 220 people were in attendance. The wedding took place at the Jameson Manor in Lima, Ohio. The space was gorgeous. It’s an old mansion that has been made to host events and weddings. Luckily, the weather was nice outside so the ceremony could take place outdoors.

CJ and I helped set-up a lot of the food and space at the venue to accommodate the new number of people attending. That included bringing all 38 cases of beer, 12 cases of wine and 20 cases of soda. We also made 20 dozen eggs worth of deviled eggs, meatballs and arranged veggie plates. Jodi and Missy also are pickle and olive connoisseurs, so we assembled pickle and olive trays. They ended up having enough food, a beautiful cake and most importantly happy people.  

CJ was joking around with his Moms that he supplied to the most important aspects of the wedding. He supplied the bartender and the photographer. One of our good friends was the bartender, a husband and wife duo. Having them both there was great to visit and escape from family for a little bit. I had the pleasure of taking photos for the wedding! I take photos often, but this was my first wedding. I was happy to do it for someone I know and to get some great experience.

The best part of the whole wedding was getting to spend time with CJ and his family on such a happy day. Finally seeing them get married, surrounded by all their favorite people was so rewarding. Although parts of the day were stressful, the day was theirs. Congrats, Jodi and Missy!

Friday, September 1, 2017

U2/Indianapolis Zoo

One of the first adventures of the whole summer was an impromptu concert with my uncle Christopher. My uncle Christopher is a well-known doctor in our small town who got some great tickets to go see U2 in concert in Chicago. Soldier Field was packed with people excited to see U2’s tour of the Joshua Tree. Christopher had originally got tickets for some of his friends to go with him, but plans came up and he had extra seats.

My dad is a huge U2 fan. He went to some of their concerts when he was younger. When Christopher invited him to go with him, he couldn’t pass up the opportunity! After being at school all year, I hadn’t visited with Christopher in a long time so I went with them! My boyfriend CJ was visiting for two months this summer to help me with my job and volunteer for our local children’s theatre. That weekend happened to be the first weekend he was home, so he went along as well.

The concert was great! The music was so familiar to me. I grew up listening to their music and my Dad singing to me. Christopher and Dad said that we couldn’t go to Soldier Field without getting an overpriced beer. After our hike all the way to the top of the stadium, we all felt like we deserved one. Being there with my family was so much fun. To include CJ in that memory was even better.

The Indianapolis Zoo
After the adventure of the U2 concert, my family took a trip to Indianapolis Zoo for my little brother Anderson’s birthday. He turned 10 years old! He loves to go to Indianapolis to eat at his favorite restaurant The Spaghetti Factory. He always gets spaghetti with two meatballs and apple sauce.

This is the first summer that everyone in my family has been home since my sophomore year of high school has been home, so having everyone together at the zoo to celebrate with Anderson was a treat! CJ had never been to the Indianapolis Zoo either, so we all got to experience it together!

I love going to the zoo. I love walking around and seeing the animals. Watching the people is also pretty fun, too. When I was younger I threw a fit that we missed the dolphin show, so now whenever we go my dad gives me a hard time. Before we went to the zoo this time, my parents told me we wouldn’t see the dolphin show. No fit this year.

Family time is really important to me. I knew that I would be busy working this summer for the children’s theatre, so having some time together before events got crazy was so valuable.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Welcome Back Introductions

The first week of classes at Ohio Northern have come to a close. Being back at Ohio Northern has been really refreshing, but I am going to miss summer.

Summer at my house is one of the busiest, most crazy, adventure-filled times of the year. Every summer since my sophomore year of high school I have been traveling with the Blue Stars Drum and Bugle Corps, but this year I was home the whole time.

Sure there were moments where summer felt super long, but being home this summer was so memorable. I wouldn't have wished to spend my summer anywhere except with my family. For the next couple of blog posts, I am going to recap everything that I did over the summer because this was probably my last summer that I will get to stay home.

I thought what better way to start out than to introduce my family?

Meet the family! My parents are Mark and Heather. I am the oldest. Harrison (the graduate) is a freshman at Ohio Northern this year. My younger sister, Mary Grace is a sophomore in high school. Anderson is a sixth grader. We also have a really cute Basset hound named Duchess (below).

My mom comes from a really big family of seven siblings which means there is always something going on. My grandma still lives in our hometown so for us that means there is always someone visiting or a surprise during the summer.

My family will go over to my grandma's house and visit, do crafts, lots of tie dye, play sports and have a great time! Weekly campfires and grilling is not uncommon for our family in between swim meets, band practices, theatre rehearsals and running.

We like to include everyone and always have our hands in something, so before I even begin to introduce what we all have been up to this summer please know that there will be a little bit of everything!

Now you know the characters and next week we can begin the story. Stay tuned for tales of concerts by U2 and a trip to the zoo!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

The End of the Year

The end of the year is in sight. Today alone I am wrapping up several classes with final presentations and papers. The end of the year is really exciting in terms of looking forward to summer, but in finishing up everything time gets rather stressful.

For those of you that are feeling overwhelmed and stressed right now, know that this is all temporary. The hardships will pass and you will really only remember the good of your days at ONU. You are enough.

This semester has been a trial and error as far as blogs go.  Social media principles has taught me the importance of measurement, definitions of success, updating always and connecting to audiences. I am excited to be Hootsuite certified next semester and to continue developing the skills that I learned in this class. I am going to keep my blog on my personal website more up to date now that I have completed this semester.

If you want to keep up with my summer adventures here is my personal website. 

A quick update from me before we wrap up:

  • My family is finally looking into that second dog to be friends. Her name is Olivia. She is three years old with similar temperament to Duchess. We are meeting them on Wednesday this week and hopefully starting the process so Duchess can have a sister. 
  • I am traveling to Germany with the ONU Wind Orchestra from May 15, 2017 to May 27, 2017. We will be playing our previous concert repertoire while we are in Germany. I am most excited to see the Berlin Philharmonic and see Germany! 
  • I begin my job co-directing Hello, Dolly! at the end of May through July 16, 2017. I am excited to work with lots of young children, but I also am a little nervous. 
  • All members of my family will be home this summer. This will be the first time we all will be home since the summer of my sophomore year. My boyfriend will be visiting for a few months as well. We might all have to make a trip because we all will be around. 
  • I have one semester left here at Ohio Northern. I am excited and nervous, but so thankful for my days here at ONU. 
I wanted to take a quick moment to thank all of you that have been reading my blog throughout the semester. I appreciate you being patient and listening to what I have to say. I will miss reading your comments and seeing your posts. 

Monday, April 24, 2017

Reading Reflection: Chapter 9 & 10

Going along with the previous themes of this book, each of the chapters outline the seven steps to measuring each chapter's specific focus. In these chapters, the primary focus was on communities and employees.

Communities have changed recently with new definitions of social media. A community consists of a group of stakeholders that exerts influence over your organization internally and externally. Employees would be a key stakeholder in an organizations internal community. Social media has allowed for the communities to grow based off of their virtual audiences.

Being able to answer these key questions will keep your all of your audiences in a community more engaged.

Who are your neighbors and why are they important?
How do good and bad relationships influence your organization?
Who and What is most important to measure?

Being able to understand the environments of your internal and external communities will be the best way to resonate with how they are receiving your messages. Listen to what they are hearing, saying and doing to measure those messages to create better environments for internal and external audiences.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

What's a Geofilter?

Geofilters are a way for Snapchat users to let each other know where they are located. Snapchat has different requirements on what can be in a geo filter and what cannot. 

Snapchat's submission guidelines state that "Geofilters cannot include any branding, business marks, business names, business logos, or other promotional content for a business or brand." Geofilters are primary for celebrations in a specific location. Geofilters also may not include photos of people, URLs, drug-related content or content that you don't have copyrights for. 

Every time I go to a new location, I always look to see what kind of filters Snapchat has to show my friends. For as small as Ada is, we are lucky to have three or four geofilters specifically for Ada or Ohio Northern University. 

Geofilters are primarily for celebrations in a specific location or for events. Anyone can create a Snapchat geofilter if they have a computer! Here is a tutorial on how to make your own geofilter for Snapchat. 

What are your favorite geofilters? Would you create one for an event? Comment below. 

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

FYI: Good News

This time of the semester is where schedules get busy, assignments pile up and life gets crazy. While I myself have been stressed and a worry wart, I have had a good couple of days.

My grant is being shared and viewed by my friends and family, I had a job interview for next semester and I recently got my summer position finalized. Time is funny and throws it all at you at once, but so far this week good news has been coming my way.

I will again shamelessly post this link to encourage you to vote for my grant submission. If we win the grant submission, we get $100,00 to directly impact a project to keep Fendig Summer Theatre for Children impacting our community for years to come.

I recently just got accepted to direct along side one of my friends for their summer production in July. We are in the planning stages, but being able to announce this information is such a relief.

Have you had any good news lately? I would love to hear about what is going on with your crazy semester in the comments!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

FYI: Tie-dye Easter Eggs

Every year for Easter my grandma Bonnie helps all her grandchildren dye Easter eggs. Usually we do the typical tablets in vinegar method, but this year she came up with another way to make them look pretty.

Here are the materials you need to tie-dye your Easter eggs.

  • a dozen hard-boiled eggs
  • food coloring
  • paper towels
  • rubber bands
  • spray bottle
  • water
  • vinegar
  • tray
  • rubber gloves

First, hard-boil your eggs and gather the materials. In a small squirt bottle, pour half water and half vinegar all the way up. 

Next, take your hard-boiled eggs and wrap them in tight in two paper towels. At the top of the egg put a rubber band around the excess paper towel. Your egg will have "bunny ears."

Line your tray with some paper towels and lightly spray the vinegar mix to dampen the paper towels. Do the same to your covered eggs. 

Put on your rubber glove. Once the paper towels are damp, use food coloring to tie-dye and create designs on your egg. Soaking the paper towel will create the design on the egg without using multiple rubber bands.

The paper towel will soak through and create the texture. I used red and blues on my egg. Make sure you get in between the crevices of the paper towel or some of the egg will be left white. 

Over the tray lined in paper towels, gently squeeze the paper towel so that it sticks firmly to the egg. Don't squeeze too hard or you will break your egg! 

Let the eggs sit in the tray for an hour. This will give the eggs time to soak in the paper towels to create the texture. Put on another pair of gloves and take the paper towels and rubber bands off the eggs. Set the eggs back in an egg carton to dry. 

These eggs are more for older children or adults to make. This is a messy, but fun project. If you want to impress the Easter Bunny this year, try tie-dying your Easter eggs! 

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Insights & Word of Mouth

Last week I posted about my grant submission I was working on. This week I have seen the insights and analytics first hand with measuring how many individuals we are impacting. 

I run the social media accounts for Fendig Summer Theatre for Children. I have discovered from running the Facebook social media accounts the value of being able to assess social insights as well as the word of mouth. 

The past week our posts have engaged the community pretty well to vote for our grant as well as cultivate talk and engagement about things coming up for the 2017 production season. People have been messaging our page to hear about the staff, the show and other ways they can help out. 

That engagement has only improved our social accounts this week! Hopefully that means plenty of votes are coming our way for our cause. If you are interested in learning more, check out this link.